Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gulf Styles of Niqab pt. 1... not to be confused with how to STYLE a niqab

Front veiw of an Islamic flip niqab (available with or without nose string) from Al Motahajaba store
One of the niqabs I wear most frequently simply because it flows beautifully, is light as air, and gives good coverage and decent appearence even without any additional styling of the shayla is my Islamic flip style flip niqab from Al Motahajaba. This particular one is without a nose string. I have another one exactly the same with a nose string from Habayeb in UAE. The Al Motahajaba one costs around 10.500 Omani rials. Which is around 35.00 dollars USD.
Side veiw of the Islamic flip niqab
While I did find that this style of niqab was the most popular with niqabis back in the West, most of the time the niqabs were not made wholly out of the same fabric as Khaleeji shaylas, as this one is. The face veil part is just two peices of shayla fabric made into a square and sewn inwards and then between the single layers of the shayla fabric for the flip. The headband is made out of folded double layers shayla fabric and is not backed or stiff at all, and ties closed. The veil itself is wider than say, an elastic face niqab because its edges are sewn directly into the flip part of the niqab, which gives it a longer durability than the following stringed styles I will showcase. Also, another MAJOR difference is the end of the flip edges are WIDER than the face veil itself and ROUNDED at the bottom so that when flipped back, they cascade nicely instead of being the square things flapping around in the back.
Design/construction of the islamic flip niqab.
Note the width of the flip being wider than the veil, and the rounded edge on the bottom. This is what gives the niqab it's nice flow even without styling.
Next up is a VERY OLD niqab from my closet (so if it looks worn forgive---I haven't bought another one is SOME time). Some people refer to it as a Saudi niqab style but it is actually a Bahraini one. Many Saudis vacay in Bahrain and adopt the look because it can be more stylish with make-up;).
Front veiw of a Bahraini strinnged flip niqab
This is the sought after "wide-eyed" string niqab alot of girl's like seeking a more tribal style though mine is old and not in good shape. The wide eyes are formed by the veil itself being narrower (the same width as an elsatic half niqab) and attached to the flip part by THREE strings. (Note, this niqab CANNOT be made without the nose string). There are two strings on either side to attach it to the flip, and one in the middle for the nose to prevent the niqab from slipping off entirely.
side veiw of the bahraini stringed flip niqab
I took this photo to illustrate how the strings are attached to the headband.
Bahraini stringed flip niqabs may or may not have a stiff backed headband. The better quality ones will not have a stiff headband and will be made of folded doubled shayla fabric.
As you can see, the face veil is MUCH narrower than the Islamic flip niqab style, and while both might support nose strings, this niqab cannot function without one.
Photo to show how the Baharaini niqab differs from the Islamic niqab in how the sides are sewn, and the width of the face veil itself.
A possible nose-stringless alternative to the wide-eyed styles of niqab would be the Saudi "widow's peak" niqab which has a peaked stiff headband and yet may have sides sewn like the Islamic flip niqab. I don't generally LIKE stiff band niqabs. The ones I own I seldom wear. Below is one that I do: even though my husband hates the big eyes---but the shorter veil is more useful if wearing niqab eating out and easier for carrying children and babies since they won't pull down on it in your arms.
Front veiw of a Salalah style stringed headband niqab.
The construction of the Salalah niqab is always a wide backed headband and a characteristically shorter face veil---from just below the chin to the collarbone. It comes into two styles, stringless (which the face veil will be a little wider and sewn into the sides of the niqab band---this style may ALSO have a nose string but won''t give you that wide-eyed look) and stringed with a thinner face veil attached with a string at each ear and one in the middle where the nose is. The veils may be additionally tribally styled  with additional frilly decorative veil on the face veil itself, but I don't own any examples of those since I am not from Salalah and so would never wear one. Some Saudis also wear this style in the South, and Yemenis too!
Side veiw of the Salalah stringed niqab

Design of the stringed Salalah style niqab.
 Now, if I style my niqabs, I usually only do so two ways, which I'll post about later inshaAllah, but I never wear my headband or half niqabs without the end of shayla flipped up over the top of niqab and pinned secure at each side with stick pins as pictured below. Just because I don't fancy the look without. The most common way I wear niqab style is with the loose end hooded and flipped up over top:
Note: the shayla used to flip back over the top of the niqab has a rounded edge on the bottom, instead of a square. I also do the look with square edged shaylas.


Anonymous said...

asalaamu alaikum

great post. I remember those really nice niqabs from al-motahajibah...very nice. I had one, but then gave it away when I returned to the USA. The Bahraini style one you mention is more like a bedu, central Saudi style. When Id go to Bahrain or see Bahraini women in Khobar (they stand out due to the silk overheads with the traditional center seaming)...those who wore niqab just wore the regular headband style, no nose string or anything. Though, honestly most Bahraini women I saw didnt even wear niqab and those who did wore either the headband with no nose string OR would take a cotton gauze shaylah and throw it around their head and toss 1 edge up over their face and then put the abayaah ra'as up over that. The nose string style is seen in the EP (Saudi, along the Gulf) as a Bedu style. Its popular but even most EP Saudi women dont wear it, most EP Saudi women go for the plain headband or the widows peak (I believe I coined the phrase...LOL)...or rarely a halfie or a shaylah thrown up as a gatwa/boushiyyah. You mostly see girls wanting to show off in the nosestring styles or authentic Bedu women in town or sometimes urban Bedu women from like central Saudi with them on.

Btw can you pls email me, I wanna know if I can get something through you frm Oman. Do you still have my email?

ireminisces said...

Walaikum asalam warahmatulahi wabarakatuhu,

Looking for a ninja :)
JazakAllah for sharing & feel free to share some love at ireminisces.